Awoke to the promise of another HOT day and it didn’t let us down. 94 yesterday and 95 today. This should the last of the mid to upper 90’s temperatures for us. Yellowstone will be in the mid 70’s according to the Weather Channel. We need to start getting used to lower temperatures to be ready for the high’s in the 60’s back home.
Had a great conversation with a couple from Illinois while Wayne cleaned BOB off the front window before it got too hot this morning. For those of you who tuned in late, BOB is Baked On Bugs.
We then headed out for Riverton and the other casino in the area. What a disappointment. We were each supposed to get a free $10 credit on our player’s cards but due to a computer glitch we only got $5 apiece. They said to come back in awhile and they could put the rest on our cards. When we needed to leave so we had time to see the local attractions they still didn’t have it fixed. The bad news is we left around $9 there but the good news is we got 4 big, yummy cinnamon rolls with coupons they gave us.
After eating our picnic lunch we headed north and found Sinks Canyon State Park. At first we thought we were supposed to bring our dirty dishes along but that wasn’t the case. Sinks Canyon is so named because the Mild Fork of the Popo Agie (believe it or not it is pronounced po PO shuh) River flows down the canyon and into a large limestone cavern. The water “sinks” into fissures and cracks at the back of the cave and travels underground, emerging ¼ mile down the canyon in a large calm pool called “The Rise” before continuing into the valley below. Dye tests show that, mysteriously, the water is underground for over two hours before reappearing in The Rise. Geologists speculate that while underground the water circulates up and down and through many narrow, winding passages and pools before it resurfaces. We hiked the ½ mile round trip trail between the Sink and the Rise in the 90+ degree weather and Wayne got a great picture of Mabel the Marmot along the trail. The Rise is teeming with hundreds of huge Rainbow and Brown Trout – the larger ones weigh up to 12 pounds. The Rise is not stocked but the fish arrive naturally and stay because it is a protected area with an extensive food supply. These are smart fish because they have obviously read all of the “No Fishing” signs posted in the area. Not only was entry into the state park free but we found 2 geocaches here.
Our next stop was the Sacajawea Cemetery. There is a large statue of her here and, according to local history, her burial site. She was the only woman in Lewis and Clark’s Expedition and her presence, along with that of her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, prevented the expedition from being attacked. The Native Americans they met believed the expedition was peaceful since a war party never traveled with a woman and a baby. She had many other skills that were invaluable to the expedition including being a translator and negotiator and using her knowledge of native plants to provide nourishing food. Her life after returning from the expedition is shrouded in mystery with several versions of how many children she had, her age when she died and where she was buried. She is one of the most famous women in American history and has been honored with more statues, monuments and landmarks than any other woman in the US.
In the nearby Fort Washakie (WASH a key) cemetery we found the grave of Chief Washakie (means gourd rattle). He was born in 1798 and learned English and French from fur trappers. Recognizing early on the futility of trying to stem the vast tide of emigrants from the east, he used his language, negotiating skills and friendships with frontiersmen such as Kit Carson to move the Shoshone Indian bands away from emigrant migration routes and form alliances with the army to leave the routes uncontested. When Washakie died in 1900 at the age of 102, he was accorded a full military funeral, the only know military funeral for an Indian Chief. The cavalry from Fort Washakie provided the escort and the procession was nearly two miles long.
On our way back to the RV we did some more geocaching. We couldn’t find one we hunted for but did find 33 cents on the ground while looking. We later found out the geocache has gone missing and we couldn’t have found it anyway. So we added a total of 5 new ones today. Have lost count of how many we have found on the trip but our total finds now is 629.
Tomorrow we head for Yellowstone and cooler weather.